British-Albanian singer Dua Lipa is building a multimillion-dollar mansion in Agioi Saranta (Άγιοι Σαράντα, Albanian: Sarandë) in the Greek Minority Zone of Northern Epirus in southern Albania.
A source told Page Six that her new home in the coastal city — located opposite the Greek island of Corfu — will have grand views overlooking the Ionian Sea.
Bronze Age tools typical of Mycenaean Greece have been unearthed in Agioi Saranta which date to1400-1100 BC.
According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, the real name of the place during the Roman period was was the Port of Anchises (Ἀγχίσου λιμήν), named after Anchises, the father of Aeneas; and it was probably owing to this tradition that the name Onchesmus assumed the form of Anchiasmus or Anchiasmos (Greek: Αγχιασμός) under the Byzantine Empire.
Although a Greek-majority city and region, and liberated by the Greek Army from the Ottomans and fascist Italians in the First Balkan War and Second World War respectively, twice the region was granted to Albania by the Great European powers.
According to a survey by the Albanian Helsinki Committee, in 1990 Sarandë numbered 17,000 inhabitants, of whom 7,500 belonged to the Greek minority. The members of the Greek minority of the city, prior to the collapse of the socialist regime (1991), were deprived from their minority rights, since Sarandë did not belong to the "minority areas".
In fieldwork undertaken by Greek scholar Leonidas Kallivretakis in the area during 1992 noted that Saranda's mixed ethno-linguistic composition (total population in 1992: 17,555) consisted of 8,055 Muslim Albanians, 6,500 Greeks and an Orthodox Albanian population of 3,000.
Statistics from the same study showed that, including the surround villages, Sarande commune had a population consisting of 43% Albanian Muslims, 14% Albanian Christians, 41% Greek Christians, and 2% Aromanian Christians.
Sarandë is considered one of the two centers of the Greek minority in Albania. According to the representatives of the Greek minority 42% of the town's population belong to the local Greek community. Since the 1990s the population of Sarandë has nearly doubled. According to official estimation in 2013, the population of the city is 41,173.
According to a survey conducted by the Albanian Committee of Helsinki, in 2001 the Albanian population numbered about 26,500, while Greeks formed the rest with about 3,400 alongside a small number of Vlachs and Roma.
The city, according to the Albanian Committee of Helsinki, has lost more than half of its ethnic Greeks from 1991 to 2001, because of heavy emigration to Greece.
According to official estimates of 2014 the number of the Greek community in the former municipality is 7,920, not to count those who live in the wider current municipality (including additionally 4,207 in Ksamil).
Seven schools/classes in Greek attended by a total of 359 students existed in the Saranda municipality as of 2014.
Lipa was born in Britain to immigrant Albanian parents Anesa and Dukagjin Lipa and was granted Albanian citizenship in November by President Bajram Begaj.
The Grammy Award-winner lived in the Serbian separatist province of Kosovo with her family from ages 11-15, telling NPR, “I wouldn’t change it for the world because it really helped me become who I am.”
This is of course in reference to her Albanian ultra-nationalism, where she humiliatingly promoted the irredentist "Greater Albania" idea by using a Greek word.
In July 2020, she sparked controversy when posting a map of Greater Albania which includes areas of Serbia like Kosovo and the Preševo Valley, areas of Montenegro, and the Greek island of Corfu and southern Epirus
(of an inhabitant of a place) indigenous rather than descended from migrants or colonists pic.twitter.com/OD9bNmLcZ4
— DUA LIPA (@DUALIPA) July 19, 2020
She wrote “au•toch•tho•nous adjective (of an inhabitant of a place) indigenous rather than descended from migrants or colonists," without even realising the Greek etymology of the word – autochthon (of the land itself), from auto- (self) + chthon (earth, land).
After being slammed by social media users and reported in international media for her ultra-nationalism, the singer has made a poor attempt to whitewash her historical manipulation.
"My previous post was never meant to incite any hate. It makes me sad and angry that my post has been willfully misinterpreted by some groups and individuals who promote ethnic separatism, something I completely reject," she said on Twitter.
A strange proposition considering she wants the Greek island of Corfu that has no Albanian population and southern Epirus that is overwhelmingly Greek and always has been, to be a part of a "Greater Albania."
"Whenever I post about Kosovo, my feed goes crazy, even if it's about something as joyful as food or music, and I am met with a fierce resistance to the idea of an authentic Kosovan culture," she continued to say.
There are of course several problems with this statement.
Dua Lipa was not making a post about only Kosovo, but about a "Greater Albania" that includes other parts of Serbia, Montenegro and Greece. It is an outright lie that her social media post was only about Kosovo.
READ MORE: Eurobarometer: Albanians believe Greeks discriminate them the most.